Important information - The value of investments can go down as well as up, so you may not get back the amount you originally invest. Tax treatment depends on personal circumstances and all tax rules may change. You can't normally access money in a SIPP until 55.
It is incredibly difficult to plan ahead when the foreseeable future is the most uncertain it has ever been in any of our lifetimes. As the spread of the global pandemic evolves, our daily lives are being changed in completely unanticipated ways.
From making sure we and our loved ones stay safe, to getting food, working out new ways to work, and devising new ways to stay in contact while we retreat into our own socially-responsible, socially-distanced bubble, it is no surprise that so many have taken to social media to say that they feel their whole world is closing in. It is. Pretty much everything we have always taken for granted has been taken away by this virus.
That is the situation we are dealing with today. And it is undoubtedly challenging, However, that is also why it is so important to remember that keeping one eye on tomorrow is still sensible; even if today is changing beyond all recognition.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Start right now
Tomorrow might seem even more distant in today’s trying times, but the pandemic, if anything, has proven that we never know what is around the corner. Having your finances in good shape is one less thing to worry about.
Uncertainty is rife, but if you can commit to setting aside even a small sum every month, from today, you’ll have future peace of mind.
One of the key cornerstones of saving and investing is the cushion it provides that can soften future financial blows.
2. Start small
You can invest as little as £50 a month in a Fidelity ISA. That will give you the ability to save tax-free and also the flexibility to use the money any time you need it further down the line. With an annual allowance of £20,000 the scope to save on a large scale is there. But don’t let that figure deter you from starting small. Out of acorns mighty oak trees grow, so building up your savings and investments gradually is an effective way to do it.
It’s the same when it comes to retirement savings. Saving into a pension will lock your money away, until you’re at least 55 under current tax rules, but you will also get rewarded for that with the top-up that pension savings attract; helping to boost your savings even further.
3. Don’t forget tomorrow
With a 30-plus time horizon, it is a good idea to get your savings and investments underway as soon as you possibly can. Time really is on your side here.
We often talk about how the inevitable ups and downs of investing are smoothed out by time. Despite the current turmoil, that will be the same this time around. So much so potentially that anyone who invests today will, looking back at it from the future, thank themselves that they did.
4. And if you’re a woman it’s even more important
Women are already all too often on the financial back-foot. Young women putting money into their pension in line with the government’s auto-enrolment contributions may well still end up with a pension pot that is almost 11% smaller than their male counterparts’.
The fact that women still tend to earn less and take time off to raise a family or care for elderly relatives, means that while the average pension pot for man currently aged between 25 and 34 will be worth £142,836 when he gets to the current state pension age of 68, a woman in the same age group will only have £126,786 on average when she hits retirement age. That’s based on the latest ONS projections and adjusting for inflation.
5. But you can fix it
You can close the pension gap though. By putting away an additional 1% of your salary as soon as you start working, you can close the gap. That means putting away an average of just £35 extra each month for 39 years.
More on ISAs
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Important information: Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.